What is the Difference Between Fucoidan and Fucoxanthin

The main difference between fucoidan and fucoxanthin is that fucoidan is a sulfated polysaccharide found in several seaweeds while fucoxanthin is a carotenoid pigment found in the chloroplasts of brown algae, resulting in the olive-green color in brown seaweeds.

Fucoidan and fucoxanthin are two compounds extracted from brown seaweed. Both fucoidan and fucoxanthin show antioxidant properties and anticancer properties. Fucoidan occurs in the cell walls of brown seaweeds, protecting seaweeds from external stress, while fucoxanthin is the pigment responsible for the olive-green color of brown seaweeds. Moreover, the main function of fucoxanthin is to harvest light as a part of the process of photosynthesis. However, both fucoidan and fucoxanthin have lots of health benefits for humans. Normally, fucoidan shows anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties while fucoxanthin improves blood lipid profiles, decreased insulin resistance, reducing weight. In addition, Fucus vesiculosus, Cladosiphon okamuranus, Laminaria japonica, and Undaria pinnatifida are the types of brown algae used in the synthesis of fuccoidan and fucoxanthin.

Key Areas Covered

  1. What is Fucoidan
    • Definition, Characteristics, Importance
  2. What is Fucoxanthin
    • Definition, Characteristics, Importance
  3. Similarities Between Fucoidan and Fucoxanthin
    • Outline of Common Features
  4. Difference Between Fucoidan and Fucoxanthin
    • Comparison with Key Differences

Key Terms

Antioxidant, Fucoidan, FucoxanthinFucoidan vs Fucoxanthin - Comparison Summary

What is Fucoidan

Fucoidan is a sulfated polysaccharide found in different species of brown algae. Fucus vesiculosus, Cladosiphon okamuranus, Laminaria japonica, and Undaria pinnatifida are the sources of commercially available fucoidan. Moreover, fucoidan occurs in the cell wall of the seaweed, protecting the seaweed from external stresses. These protective benefits are beneficial for humans and other animals too. In nutritional, medical device, skincare, and dermatological products, fucoidans have a higher value.

Compare Fucoidan and Fucoxanthin - What's the difference?

Figure 1: Brown Seaweeds

Furthermore, fucoidan shows anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-inflammation, immunity, gut and digestive health, wound healing, and anti-aging properties.

What is Fucoxanthin

Fucoxanthin is a type of xanthophyll and it occurs as an accessory pigment in the chloroplasts of brown seaweeds.  It gives the olive-green color to brown seaweed. In the visible spectrum, fucoxanthin absorbs the blue-green to yellow-green part. Moreover, fucoxanthin represents 10% of the total carotenoid production in nature. In plants, fucoxanthin pigment is responsible for light harvesting.

Fucoidan vs Fucoxanthin

Figure 2: Fucoxanthin

In animal models of cancer, fucoxanthin induces G1 cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. In addition, in animal models, it improves blood lipid profiles, and decreased insulin resistance, reducing weight.

Similarities Between Fucoidan and Fucoxanthin

  • In general, fucoidan and fucoxanthin are two types of compounds extracted from brown seaweeds.
  • Moreover, both compounds show anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-viral, as well as anti-inflammation properties.

Difference Between Fucoidan and Fucoxanthin

Definition

Fucoidan refers to a sulfated polysaccharide (carbohydrate) found in several seaweeds while fucoxanthin refers to a carotenoid pigment (organic compound) found in the chloroplasts of brown algae.

Type of Molecule

Generally, fucoidan is a polysaccharide while fucoxanthin is a carotenoid.

Importance

Usually, fucoidan shows anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-inflammation, immunity, gut and digestive health, wound healing, and anti-aging properties while fucoxanthin improves blood lipid profiles, decreased insulin resistance, reducing weight.

Conclusion

In brief, fucoidan is a sulfated polysaccharide that occurs in brown seaweeds. Although fucoxanthin is extracted from the same source, it is a carotenoid pigment responsible for photosynthesis. However, fucoidan shows anti-aging, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Fucoxanthin, on the other hand, shows weight loss, improved blood lipid profiles, and decreased insulin resistance. Therefore, the main difference between fucoidan and fucoxanthin is their structure and properties.

References:
  1. Chau YT, Chen HY, Lin PH, and Hsia SM. Preventive Effects of Fucoidan and Fucoxanthin on Hyperuricemic Rats Induced by Potassium Oxonate. Mar Drugs. 2019 Jun 10;17(6):343. doi: 10.3390/md17060343. PMID: 31185695; PMCID: PMC6627326.
Image Courtesy:
  1. Brown Seaweed ” By Greentea1234 – Own Work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
  2. Fucoxanthin” By Yikrazuul – Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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